C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S

Group spells out action plan on cattle village
Nod to modern milk plant near Hallomajra
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The working group constituted by the local Administration on the proposed “cattle village” to come up near Maloya has spelt out the action plan for the project. It has specified different departments of the administration which will provide a “comprehensive action plan” for the implementation of the project.

At a meeting held recently, the departments of Town Planning, Finance, Animal Husbandry and the local Municipal Corporation have been asked to provide inputs on land, layout plans and construction. The Town Planning Department will assess the requirements of the land taking into consideration livestock data provided by the Animal Husbandry Department. This will be followed by the jobs relating to the land acquisition, a survey of beneficiaries, design of sheds and modes of allotment details.

The administration is deliberating on a proposal to develop village near Maloya as an integrated milk colony to rehabilitate farmers. Cattle rearing facility, with all required infrastructure, including cattle shed, fodder stores, veterinary clinic, dormitory for attendants and a biogas plant, will be set up in the colony.

In a relative development, the Administration has decided to set up its first ever high-valued modern milk plant at Industrial Area, Phase II, near Hallomajra, to meet the requirement of milk and dairy products of the residents of the city and adjoining areas. At least 10 acres has been earmarked for this purpose at Hallomajra and will be allotted on lease basis. The plant will be commensurate with the plans of the Administration for setting up state-of-the-art facilities.

Expressions of interest will be invited for setting up and running of the plant. The land would be allotted to a reputed and experienced company.

In another development, the Everest Enterprises, in a communication to the UT Administrator has expressed its desire to be part of the “integrated economic growth centre and modern dairy park”. 



Disabled, not weak
Visually impaired protest, seek jobs
Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh, December 3
On a call of the National Federation of Blind, the visually impaired from Punjab and Haryana today observed World Disabled Day as protest day.
The members of the federation from Haryana took out a march from the building of the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Haryana, to the New Secretariat in Sector 17. Members from Punjab assembled in front of the office of the Social Welfare Department in Sector 34 and marched towards the Punjab Raj Bhavan.

Mr Jageram, general secretary of the Haryana unit of the federation, said they would continue with their protest on Monday. The federation submitted a memorandum to the Governor of Haryana demanding regular jobs for chair-caners, special drive for employment, implementation of provisions under the Disablement Act, 1995, in true spirit, a positive policy with regard to transfer of the blind and visually impaired.

The members of the Punjab unit of the federation were stopped by the police at Press Chowk. The leaders were taken to the Raj Bhavan, where they submitted their memorandum to the authorities. The federation also sent the copies of the memorandum to the Chief Justice of Supreme Court, Chairman of Human Rights Commission, Government of India, Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Commissioners for Disabled of both states.

Camp for disabled

Meanwhile, the State Resource Centre, run by the Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, organised a camp at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Mani Majra, to observe World Disabled Day .

Students of Vatika Deaf and Dumb School, Sector 19, and Government Institute of Mentally Retarded Children (GIMRC), Sector 32, exhibited various articles prepared by them. Ms Pooja, president of the Parents-Guardian Association for Mentally Retarded Children, urged the Director Health Services, UT, to waive the annual licence fee for the spices grinding and packaging project running at the GIMRC.

A team of medical experts examined patients for various disabilities.

According to Prof B.S. Chavan, nodal officer for the State Resource Centre, patients were also given IQ. The application forms were filled up for mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism and multiple disabilities. The certificates would be sent to the beneficiaries through community-based rehabilitation workers, said Professor Chavan.

Earlier, Dr M.S. Bains, Director, Health Services, UT, inaugurated the camp and appreciated the exhibits of the students. Prof Chavan apprised Dr Bains of the difficulties being faced by the centre in marketing the products made by the disabled students.

Aruna Asif Ali Bhavan

Aruna Asif Ali Bhawan, Sector 44, here observed the day amid celebrations. It was a unique function, for the cultural programme was presented by the disabled, for the disabled. The show kicked off with a Saraswati Vandana by Tejaswani Sharma. A student of the Sadhna Society for the Handicapped, Tejaswani is the semi-finalist of the show “Awaaz Punjab Di”. She can sing 300 songs of Lata Mangeshkar with equal ease, regardless of her mental handicap.

Attired in traditional bright ghagra-kurti, students of the Government Institute for Mentally Retarded Children, Sector 32, gave a brilliant presentation of a Haryanavi dance, not even once making one realise of their inherent handicap.

Mohammed Imran, a visually impaired student danced his way to everybody’s heart on a popular Punjabi number.

Mr Hemant Contractor, Chief General Manager, State Bank Of India, said, “ We are ready to extend all our support and help to the National Institute for The Blind in their efforts”.

Chandi mandir: World Disabled Day was observed at Saket Hospital, here not as a day to mourn handicaps or lecture inmates on dealing with disabilities but as a day to overcome these by sheer grit and determination to come out right on top. Disability was no handicap as children ran races on their wheelchairs and on crutches, sang songs and danced gay abandon while the audience cheered them on. “The enthusiasm around us was infectious. When the race began, I didn’t know I would win”, said Kuldeep who stood first in the wheelchair race.

Even four-year-old Udeep Singh, the youngest inmate of Saket, couldn’t contain his excitement. Smiling ear to ear and clapping the longest after every item presented on the occasion, he said, “It is our day. I wish all holidays are celebrated like this one.”

The day went by in merry games for inmates who tried their hand at carrom board and table tennis, various rounds of dart and musical chairs while the less-sporty-more-artistic lot participated in drawing contests and presented cultural items to entertain the crowd.

The chief guest, Commissioner and Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment, Anuradha Gupta, released a souvenir marking the 50 years of establishment of the hospital.

Panchkula: The National Handicapped Welfare Council, Haryana, observed World Disabled Day on the premises of the newly constructed three-storey building of the proposed National Institute for Disabled Persons at Sector 12-A, here. Mr Keshav Chander Wadhawan, acting president of the council, presided over the celebrations.

The council members took the pledge to activate the welfare activities for the disabled. 



Chatrath’s nomination cleared
Tribune News Service

Lalit Joshi
Lalit Joshi

Anu Chatrath
Anu Chatrath

Chandigarh, December 3
The replies to the objections against the nominations of Ms Anu Chatrath from Ward No. 2 and Ms Lalit Bhardwaj (Joshi) were filed today with their respective returning officers. After hearing the replies of both candidates, the nomination papers of Ms Anu Chatrath were accepted from Ward No. 2 but the decision on the nomination of Ms Joshi will be taken tomorrow.

Prof Rajni Gupta of Ward No. 2 and Munni Devi from Ward No. 20, had filed objections against their respective opponents Ms Chatrath and Ms Joshi yesterday that both were holding office of profits.

Ms Joshi has stated that the office of chairperson of the Social Welfare Board doesn’t have pecuniary benefits as the board has been registered as a charitable company.

Ms Chatrath has stated Panjab University is not a state within the meaning of Article I, read with Schedule 1 of the Constitution. It, thus, does not fall under the category of an office of profit. It is her profession and she is not getting regular remuneration for it. “I am getting paid for my work. Thus the objections stand nullified,” she states. 



Chit Fund Scam
Cops clueless as probe begins
Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, December 3
A day after the promoters of a fake chit fund company duped scores of residents of Dera Bassi and the surrounding villages of lakhs of rupees, the police today began its probe into the case and booked the promoters under Section 420 of the IPC. However, the police virtually groped in the dark as there was no clue of the Tamil Nadu-based promoters.

Meanwhile, rumour-mongers had a field day in the township with mischievous elements getting sadistic pleasure out of the agony of hapless investors. The township was abuzz with reports that the promoters of Pooja Home Needs had come back, much to dismay of certain investors who visited the showroom.

On the other hand, police sources said they were zeroing in on those persons who had allegedly helped the promoters obtain PAN and sales tax numbers, besides completing the formalities with a view to starting the business.

The promoters, who had been running the shop on the Gulabgarh road since November 1, had allegedly promised people consumer durables and household items at a discount of 15 per cent to 30 per cent. However, they fled yesterday morning, defrauding scores of investors.

The modus operandi of the promoters was that they promised consumer durables, including TVs, refrigerators, washing machines and sofa sets, at discounted prices. People were asked to make advance cash payments and the delivery was assured within 15 days.

In fact, to win the confidence of the investors, the promoters delivered the promised items to a number of investors, including certain influential persons, in a bid to woo more customers and cash in on the greed of the general public.

Meanwhile, the police today registered another case under Sections 454 and 380 of the IPC against the mob which yesterday ransacked and “looted” several items, including TVs, refrigerators and furniture, from the showroom.



Watch out

Kamini Gautam Chandigarh-based Kamini Gautam will represent India after being selected in the Indian Handball Team (Women) at the 15th Asian Games, Doha. Pursuing PGDCA at the Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, she has been a regular trainee of the Sports Department Coaching Centre, Sector 42. Kamini was a member of the gold medallist team at the All-India Inter-varsity Handball Championship held at PU. Earlier, she represented Chandigarh in many junior and senior national championships.



In Town

Mota Singh Mr Mota Singh, counsel for the Queen of the UK and eminent legal luminary of international repute, will address the interim executive committee of the International Sikh Confederation in Chandigarh on Monday. Mr Mota Singh is a former Examiner of the UK Supreme Court, chairman of the London Rent Assessment Committee and patron of various inter-faith associations, besides heading the International Legal Committee of the International Sikh Confederation. Mr Mota Singh also has the distinction of representing interfaith organisations and Sikh religious issues at various international fora, including the United Nations, the Indo-British Legal Forum and the UK Management Board of Race Equality Workshop.



Passing Through

S. Murali Dharan
S. Murali Dharan, the only international badminton referee from India.

Do you feel that in recent years India has improved in badminton?

Definitely, there has been a remarkable change in India’s performance at the international level in recent years. During the last World Junior Championship, India held the 15th position whereas this year India ranked seventh. The standard of game, especially at the junior level, shows that the game is catching up fast.

What should be done to promote badminton in India?

Good infrastructure is the prime requirement to promote it. It is available in places like Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi. The need of the hour is to utilise it properly. India is a mine of talent and it is important to identify good talent. Regular training of these talented players under competent coaches will surely yield the desired results. Besides, initiatives should be taken to boost the morale of upcoming players.

How do you feel about the city?

I have been to Chandigarh many times. It is a beautiful place with warm and friendly people. The atmosphere is good and it is really nice to be here.

— By Jyotika Sood



Ward No. 10 urban areas need attention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Having pockets of urban areas, including Sector 45 A, C and D, and largely rural and slum areas of Burail village and Colony No. 5, more is always less for Ward No-10, which consists of Sector 45, Burail, Labour Colony No. 5. before delimitation. The ward, hopes area councilor Vijay Singh Rana of Chandigarh Vikas Manch, will prove a second time lucky for him.

While rural areas have seen many development projects undertaken, residents of urban area lament poor civic amenities compared to their counterparts in other sectors.

In Colony No. 5, it’s a mix of neglect and progress. While the roads have been recarpeted and water pipes installed, sanitation needs immediate attention. The educated of the area blame the poor civic sense of the colony residents for this problem.

The newly inaugurated movable public toilets, too, seem to have done little to address the problem of defecating in the open.

Burail, too, is in dire need of attention. The problems of congestion and unregulated construction is an ever-growing problem. The condition of civic amenities has undergone a sea change claim residents.

“Most of the streets of the village have been re-laid, new water pipes have been installed, the ring road around the village has also been re-carpeted and condition of sanitation, though not in its best, has also seen positive changes,” stated Mr Gurdev Singh, a resident.

However, Krishan Kumar of Sector 45 is not too happy with the state of civic amenities. “Our area can be termed as the worst urban area of the city. The sanitation is very poor. Encroachments by residents is a glaring problem and no efforts have been made to stop it.” 


Internal roads in the ward have been carpeted at a cost of Rs 25 lakh. New lights have been installed. Lights have also been installed on the internal roads of Burail. Two tubewells have been installed in Burail. With this water problem in the area has been solved. Speed breakers have been constructed in Sector 45. Swings have been provided in all parks. A community centre has been made in sector 45-C. Approach roads have been made in 45 C and D.

The green belt is being set up. Paver blocks are being laid in 45-A at a cost of Rs 22 lakh and in Lal Dora for at a cost of Rs 24 lakh. All V-5 roads have been provided with lighting. 



Rural tourism: Merely a buzzword for administration
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Launched with much fanfare more than a year back in November 2005, the concept of rural tourism in the Union Territory has failed to make even a start.
Not even a makeshift hutment has emerged at the site in Khuda Lahora which the Chandigarh Administration had chosen for development of a model village.

Official sources said the development of the site was stuck up because of 'procedural wrangling' in the Finance Department.

Mr Manmohan Singh, the Sarpanch, said: “I am not sure what is going on the project because no one ever got back to us.”

Maj (Dr) Gulshan Sharma, Director of the Institute of Tourism and Future Management, one of the pioneers of the project, evaded questions pertaining to the project.

“The project is being handled by the administration. We are carrying out certain programmes independently,” he said.

Mr Tejinder Singh, villager, said: “I never saw any effort for promoting rural tourism except a gathering of the mediapersons and senior UT officials when the scheme was launched.

“Unless, efforts are made to train the local population and administration allows changes in our building bye-laws, there can be no real progress on ground.”

Official sources said the matter was pending with the Finance Department.

“An important meeting on the subject is scheduled for next week. We have been told that the permission for a change in the land-use norms was a technical matter which can have an impact on the environs of the rural population, so, it needed serious deliberations before any decision,” they asserted.

Mr Mandeep Gill, a farmer, said: “I don’t know how practical it will be to create ambience of rural tourism in a UT village.

“In a small territory of 114 square km, a majority of the portion was occupied by the urban settings. Rural tourism was better suited to spots in the far-off places of Haryana, Punjab and other states,” he argued.

It is worth pointing out that the administration had prepared a blueprint to develop tourism potential in the village in a coordinated manner. The first step in the direction was to launch a cleanliness drive in the whole village which is sadly missing till date. Also missing are the proposed learning centres and tourist information centres. The village meant to be a focal point of the village tourist spots is still filed with muck and debris.

The local delicacies at the proposed ‘dhabas’ have not matured. There is also no visible interest from the local population in the proposed change by opening small shops and trades for promoting local art. 



Farmers from other states look for latest at Agrotech
Maneesh Chhibber
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Mr Nachhatar Singh left his village in Punjab to shift to Uttaranchal. With it, he also left behind 37 acres of fertile land that he sold to his cousin. Now settled in a village in Uttaranchal, he is still doing what he knows best: farming.

A proud owner of over 100 acres of land, which he bought for a song and on which he labored to make crop-worthy, Mr Nachhatar has no qualms. Counted among the affluent farmers of his area, he has plans to take up contract farming. But, he faces a problem: there’re no big companies or government agencies ready to offer him a deal.

“I have come to Agrotech to talk to farmers here to check how contract farming is doing here. I have interacted with representatives of some private companies as well as a senior officer of the Punjab Agro-Industries Corporation. But, I have yet to understand why nobody is showing adequate interest in starting contract farming in Uttaranchal. Why only Punjab?” he asks.

Another farmer, Mr Tejpal Singh, who is settled in Madhya Pradesh, was visiting his relatives in Chandigarh when he came to know about the fair. “I thought I’d visit it and maybe get to know some new things. I was amazed at how mechanized agriculture had actually become. Moreover, until I came here, I had only heard of crop diversification and contract farming. But, here even small and marginal farmers are talking about crop diversification and shifting from the traditional pattern of wheat-paddy rotation.

At the AgroTech 2006 farmers from other states are dropping by to know about the latest trends in the sector. Looking amazedly at a huge thrasher-cum-combine being showcased by a big company, Mr Santokh Singh of Ganganagar in Rajasthan wondered if there was market for so many of these machines. “But, then I thought, why would companies make them if there were no buyers. Unlike big landowners who live in my neighbourhood, my small landholding does not justify borrowing money to buy one of these machines. But, I am sure I can persuade some others like me in my village to pool resources to buy one of these,” he added.

While the number of farmers who are visiting the fair only for the sake of seeing new things far outnumber those who come with a mind to pick up something latest, the event has surely given a opportunity to some pick up small items such as seeds, etc, at cheaper prices. “Most of the stuff the shops in our area sell is spurious or somehow not good enough. Look at the size, colour and quality of these chillies and tomatoes. I have bought some seeds only to check if the claims that the big companies are making are true,” said a Meerut farmer at the fair.



Housing Problems
Krishna Enclave lacks basic amenities
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Zirakpur, December 3
Residents of the Krishna Enclave on the Zirakpur-Kalka road continue to be at the receiving end regarding basic amenities even after four years.
In fact, with roads virtually non-existent, the residents are greatly inconvenienced, particularly during the rainy season.A drizzle was enough to make the roads unfit for walking, residents alleged.

Mr V.P. Sachdeva,a resident, alleged that when they bought the plots from a property dealer, they were promised basic amenities, including roads. However, four years down the line, neither the property dealer nor the Zirakpur Nagar Panchayat has bothered to provide the roads.

Bad roads are not the only problem the residents face. Lack of sewerage makes life miserable for the residents. Mr Dinesh Khanna, another resident, claimed that when he bought the plot, he was promised basic amenities by the promoters.

However, only a temporary sewerage connection was provided by the promoters. Besides, the non-functioning of a majority of the streetlights has made the area “accident-prone”.

Official sources said lack of a government regulator, which could monitor the carving out of colonies without any basic amenities was responsible for the current state of affairs in the colonies here.

Since the resources at the disposal of the civic amenities were limited, development in the emerging colonies took a long time.

This coupled with the mushrooming of the colonies in the township, had put extra burden on the existing resources. And with the scrapping of the octroi, The resources at the disposal of the civic body had further dwindled.

Basic amenities, including roads and sewerage, would be provided in a phased manner, the sources added.



Lavish lifestyle attracts kidnappers, says study
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
Flashy cars, jazzy mobile phones and latest electronic gadgets - you may be buying happiness for your child. But at the same time you are making him a soft target for kidnappers on the prowl to pocket heavy ransom. A case study of sensational kidnappings in Chandigarh and Punjab reveals that the captors more often than not eye children from affluent families for making quick bucks.

Quoting the findings of case studies and discloser statements of culprits during the course of interrogations, senior officers of both the police forces assert that riches-on-display make it easier for the culprits to identify their targets.

During the course of their interrogation, the outlaws reportedly told the police that they choose kids who display wealth as it is easier for their families to arrange money quickly. While Amritsar resident Prabir, a 10 Plus-two student at that time, used to go to his tuitions in an expensive Honda Accord car, Vikaramjit of Ludhiana was often seen in his flamboyant style moving in Sarabha Nagar, a posh locality in Ludhiana. Similar was the way of living of Nikhil Joshi of Chandigarh.

On the other hand, the not-so-affluent-families take their own time in arranging the amount by borrowing it from their relatives and acquaintances. Or else, they raise loans. Thus, the process is delayed and it becomes difficult for the captors to keep the victim in their hideout for a long time. The sources in the Intelligence Cell of the Punjab Police say in the past two years or so, more than a dozen cases have been reported to the police.

In some of these incidents, ransom as high as Rs 1.25 crore was demanded, and even paid. In a few cases, the victims were done to death.

Additional Director-General of Punjab Police (Intelligence) J.P. Birdi says lavish lifestyles of the children from affluent families makes them a soft target for kidnappers as it is easy to zero in on such targets without making much effort.

Quoting sensational cases involving the kidnappings of Vikramjit of Ludhiana, and Prabir of Amritsar, he added both the victims were targeted only because of their lavish lifestyles.

Mr Birdi further says in Punjab the kidnappings are not organised and those indulging in this crime are attracted by the idea of making fast buck.

Both the victims and culprits are prone to lavish life styles, he asserts. In the Prabir case, the victim was targeted as he used to travel in Honda Accord car while city youngster Nikhil Joshi was known for his affluent family background, assert other police officers. 



Parishad wants Bihar bhavan in city
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Bihar Parishad organised a Bhojpuri folk song-cum-cultural evening at the Law Auditorium, Panjab University, here this evening to mark Dr Rajendra Prasad jayanti. The parishad also organised a blood donation camp in the morning.

The Bihar Minister for Science and Technology, Dr Anil Kumar, who was the chief guest at the function, said under the leadership of Mr Nitish Kumar, the state had started making progress in all fields, including education.

He claimed that by 2015, Bihar would once again become the leading state of the country. “Our government will fulfil all promises made in the manifesto by the end of its term,” the minister said.

The Bihar Parishad, which came into existence in the 1980s, has been demanding a piece of land for the construction of Bihar bhavan in the city for long. “Except for Bihar all other states have their bhavans in the city. There are thousands of people from Bihar who are settled in this part of the country and hence a Bihar bhavan must come up in the city”, said Mr Dev Brat Dwivedi, president of the parishad. He urged the minister to take up the matter with the Bihar Chief Minister. “I will certainly take up the matter with the Chief Minister”, said Dr Kumar in his address to hundreds of natives of Bihar who had gathered in the auditorium.

A former BJP MP, Mr S.P. Jain, backed the demand of the parishad.

The Managing Director, Milkfed, Mr V.K. Singh, and the Head, Urology Department, PGI, Dr S.K. Singh, also attended the function.

Chhotu Bihari, Reena Pandey and Bachu Shukla sang a number of Bhojpuri songs and enthralled the audience for over four hours. Local children also presented dance numbers.



Sanjukta's brother rules out foul play
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Chandigarh police handed over the body of Sanjukta Dikshit, wife of PGI doctor Beomkesh Dikshit, to her family after a post-mortem today.
Her brother, Devashish Panigrehi, has so far ruled out the possibility of any foul play leading to her death.

He, however, said the family would give its official statement later.

The post-mortem report has mentioned cardiac arrest as the cause of her death. Inquest proceedings have been initiated by the SDM.

Sanjukta, employed with a private bank in Bangalore, was admitted to the PGI after she allegedly consumed some poisonous substance at her husband's residence . In her suicide note she has not blamed anyone for her death.

Investigations have revealed that Sanjukta was upset as her transfer to Chandigarh had not been sanctioned. The couple had been married for seven months. Her body has been taken to Orissa for cremation.



Rash driving claims 2 lives
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
In two hit-and-run cases, a 22-year-old youth and a 40-year-old PGI employee were killed here on Saturday.
Both victims were rushed to the PGI, where they succumbed to their injuries last night.The city police has failed to trace the accused so far.

Giving details about the accident of the youth, the police said Jinnat Rawat of Sector 27-A was seriously injured after the motorcycle he was riding on was hit by an unidentified vehicle late Saturday night. The accident took place between the rotary of Sectors 19, 27, 20 and 30 and the traffic lights of Sectors 20 and 30. One side of the road had partially been closed for work and the traffic was diverted to the single lane. He was rushed to the PGI, where the doctors declared him brought dead. He reportedly sustained severe head injuries in the mishap, which claimed his life.

Rawat was employed with a private company. His body was handed over to the family after the post-mortem today.

About the other accident, the police said 40-year-old Balbir Singh, a ward assistant in the PGI, was on his way back home to Khudda Lahora village on Saturday evening when an unidentified car hit him near Dhanas village. He was seriously hurt and was rushed to the Sector 16 General Hospital. Judging the seriousness of his condition, the doctors referred him to the PGI. He remained unconscious during the treatment and succumbed to injuries at around 12 pm.

The drivers of both offending vehicles sped away from the spots. Two separate cases of causing death due to rash and negligent driving against the unidentified drivers have been registered in Sectors 19 and 11 police stations.



Agro Tech-2006
Indian retail industry likely to ‘emerge’ largest in world
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 3
The Indian retail industry is likely to emerge as the largest in the world. Modern retail started in India a decade ago and now occupies 35 per cent of the retail industry in the world. By 2020, this may surpass 70 per cent and the 10,000 new retail stores in the pipeline would cover over 2,50,000 sq feet.

This was stated by Mr Amit Vaishnav, Managing Director of Chennai-based Mega Food Company, during the international conference on “Private Labeling in Food — Gaining Shelf Space and Market Share,” organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Northern Region, in conjunction with Agro Tech-2006 here today.

Talking of structuring private labels, Mr Jean-Christophe Goarin, Consultant, GOA Consulting, referred to private labels in European and Indian markets.

“European markets have a long standing practice of private labeling, which have seen a continuous growth. The perfect example is Marks & Spencers that has been there for almost a century. In India, success has been seen in Westside, which is a full private labels department store; Pantaloons which has mixed brands private labels,” he said.

No takers for agri theatres

The agri theatres set up by the CII at the agri services centre of Agro Tech-2006 to showcase the latest farm techniques have found few takers. Though the best of services have been made available by the organisers and the talks are being given in Punjabi, for the benefit of the farmers, but the shows were running empty.

New techniques attract farmers

Farmers from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, visiting Agro Tech-2006, are showing tremendous interest in the yield and profitability enhancing state-of-the-art equipment on display at the International Pavilion.

“The Indian farmers have now started taking a serious look at how they can reduce their costs so that they can increase their profitability,” stated Mr Henk Roben, Director Van Amerongen Gas Filtration.

“We are the number one manufacturer of controlled atmosphere technology and farmers all over the world are using this to increase the shelf life of their perishable produce and enhancing their incomes.

“With large global corporations coming into the retail segment in India and the focus on quality that they are bringing in, the farmer has also started thinking along these lines,” stated Johan Bruce, Export Manager, GREEFA.

“We find that the farmers are very keen to know how to sort and grade their produce so that they can get a higher price from the larger chains. All this augments well for the Indian farm produce market and with this added focus, India will be able to make a major foray in the international market. This, of course will mean a good business opportunity for us too,” he said.

Talking of the role of The Netherlands in international agri business, Mr Eric F Ch. Niehe, Ambassador to India, said Holland was a small but densely populated country.

“Although we are a relatively small nation in terms of the land area available with us, we are now the second largest exporter of value added agri products. This is because of our focus on technology and close public-private partnership that ensures what is researched in our universities and laboratories is quickly brought to the use of the farmers in the field. When India does business with the Dutch, they can learn the latest techniques and progress in the field of agriculture,” he added.



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